Expect to see this chart a lot over the course of the campaign
Obama wants you to believe that he is the most fiscally conservative president running since, well, since before Eisenhower.
But is that really the case?
Don’t forget to read the little footnotes at the bottom of the chart.
“Spending by president begins with the fiscal year that started during the calendar year they took office.”
Of course, the average reader of this chart — especially the average Obama supporter — has no idea when the government’s fiscal year begins, nor does this chart volunteer that information.
In case you were wondering, it’s October 1.
So, Obama is saying that his spending record begins on October 1, 2009. Any spending between January 20, 2009 and September 30, 2009 is 100% Bush’s fault.
To be fair, under a smoothly operating government [but I contradict myself] this would actually make sense. The Fiscal Year 2009 budget would have been passed before October 1, 2008 (under Bush), and that budget would have constrained any further congressional spending until the next budget was passed (under Obama).
But, of course, that’s not what happened.
When it became apparent that Obama would be president, the Democratically controlled House and Senate refused to send to President Bush their appropriations bill, opting instead to run the government through Continuing Resolution, and waiting patiently until the inauguration of One of Their Own.
So when President Obama signed the Omnibus bill on March 11, 2009 — over five months after the budget’s due date — it was a Democratic spending plan through and through, signed and approved by Barack Obama.
The final appropriations bill for FY 2009 bore little resemblance to the original budget submitted under the Bush Administration.
Bush’s FY09 budget requested $2.7 trillion in revenue. Obama’s requested $2.1 trillion. A 22% decrease.
Bush’s FY09 budget allocated $3.107 trillion in expenditures. Obama’s allocated $3.518 trillion. A 13% increase.
Furthermore, while Bush’s FY 09 budget would have increased spending by only 7% from 2008, Obama’s FY09 appropriations increased spending from the previous year by a whopping 21%.
The deficit from FY08 to FY09 would have increased by $168 billion under Bush’s plan, or 70%. Under Obama’s Omnibus, it increased by $1.174 trillion, or by 491%. [Is it bad when a 70% deficit increase looks comparatively good?]
There is one other thing about this chart that deceives the casual observer. President Obama wasn’t more fiscally conservative than President Bush. He was less so. Despite all the Democrats’ haranguing over defense spending in the Bush Administration, President Obama managed to exceed those federal expenditures with his own policies (even without calculating in the Omnibus).
There is no decrease, here. If Bush and Obama’s terms were reversed, Obama would have increased spending by 9.1% from Clinton, and President Bush’s budgets would have actually decreased federal expenditures from Obama’s.
Finally, Yes, spending has increased, but so has population, so has GDP, so has revenue. So has the money supply. A much more accurate measure of fiscal responsibility is using the federal deficit as a percentage of GDP. Spending isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you can afford it.
As you can see in the graph above, there has only been one time in our nation’s history where the Deficit as a Percentage of GDP has been higher than under Barack Obama’s tenure: FDR’s presidency during World War II. Even when FDR was dousing the nation in alphabet soup in the midst of depression, the country’s deficit never exceeded 5% of the Gross Domestic Product. Barack Obama’s spending also beat Lincoln’s average during the Civil War.
Even under the most generous considerations (giving Obama’s Omnibus to Bush), George W. Bush’s deficit spending percentages are two-and-a-half times less than Barack Obama’s.